Jim Shannon – 2014 Parliamentary Question to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Jim Shannon on 2014-04-08.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions he has had with his counterpart in Laos about the persecution of Christians in that country.

Mr Hugo Swire

Our recently re-opened Embassy in Vientiane regularly raises human rights concerns with the Lao government, including their adherence to their international human rights commitments that protect freedom of religion and belief. Laos has seen some improvements in religious freedom over the past decade with a reduction in the number of long-term Christian prisoners of conscience. However, we are aware of cases of Christians being arrested for proselytising. The EU raised these cases at the last EU-Laos Human Rights Dialogue in February 2013 and we will press for it to be raised at the next EU-Laos Human Rights Dialogue which will take place in Brussels in May 2014. We continue to work with the EU and other like-minded partners to raise our concerns about religious freedom with the Lao government.